Ban in Iraq, Where US and Iran Vie for Influence

UN head meets Iraqi PM, president and FM for talks of an undisclosed nature, as US and Iran try to assert themselves in key Tikrit battle.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Ban Ki-moon
Ban Ki-moon
Flash 90

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon arrived in Baghdad on Monday for talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi and other top officials.

He is also due to meet President Fuad Masum, Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari and parliament speaker Salim al-Juburi, reports AFP.

The UN mission in Iraq announced Ban's arrival on Twitter but provided no details of the agenda of the talks.

Iraqi forces are battling to retake the city of Tikrit, the government's largest military operation yet against the Islamic State (ISIS) jihadist group.

The fact that Baghdad is receiving military assistance from both the United States and Iran however has created tensions, internally and internationally.

Illustrating how Iran is challenging the US for influence in Iraq, General Qassem Suleimani, the once highly secretive commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Qods Force, has been highly visible in leading the efforts of Shi'ite militias in the state.

Ban flew in from Egypt, where he attended an Arab League summit in Sharm el-Sheikh dominated by Saudi-led military action against Yemen's Houthi Shi'ite rebels, who are backed by Iran and have recently been seizing control in the country.

He is expected to travel on to Kuwait for a meeting of international donors on Tuesday called to address a massive funding gap in the response to the conflict in Syria.